Studies in the Comic Spirit in Modern Japanese Fiction

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Harvard University Asia Center, 1998 - Literary Collections - 253 pages
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Unlike traditional Japanese literature, which has a rich tradition of comedy, modern Japanese literature is commonly associated with a high seriousness of purpose. In this path-breaking study, Joel R. Cohn analyzes works by three writers‚e"Ibuse Masuji (1898-1993), Dazai Osamu (1909-1948), and Inoue Hisashi (1934- )‚e"whose works constitute a relentless assault on the notion that comedy cannot be part of serious literature.

Cohn focuses on thematic, structural, and stylistic elements in the works of these writers to show that modern Japanese comedic literature is a product of a particular set of historical, social, and cultural experiences. Cohn finds that cultural and social forces in modern Japan have led to the creation of comic literature that tends to deflect attention away from a human other and turn in on itself in different forms.

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Review: Studies in the Comic Spirit in Modern Japanese Fiction

User Review  - Ivan - Goodreads

An interesting view upon the well-known and the lesser known Japanese comic stories writers, essential for comparative literature studies, suitable for Japanese culture students, too. In the middle of ... Read full review


Out of the Cave
Laughing at the End
The Hisashi Phenomenon

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About the author (1998)

Joel R. Cohn is Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

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